Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
7500 Odawa Circle
KAP trainees are very involved in learning about teacher education and gaining a great deal of professional development. Dorothy Perry, Academic Coordinator, Amanda Weinert, Curriculum Specialist, and Jannan Cotto, Director, of LTBB Niigaandwin Education Department, present workshops to the trainees surrounding areas of early childhood development and indigenous education. Ms. Cotto recently presented on federal education policy and the transition from ‘No Child Left Behind’ to ESS: ‘Every Student Succeeds’ and how that change impacts Native American education. Ms. Perry has focused on topics of cognitive development, interacting with toddlers, and planning for early childhood curriculum. Ms. Weinert taught digital storytelling, technology and the impact for native students. Netawn Kiogima has addressed curriculum standards and benchmarks as they relate to the Michigan public school system, and has guided them in development of lesson and unit plans, as well as understanding of educational philosophy, methods and approaches, techniques and classroom management. Gwen Gasco has taught them about utilizing technology, linguistics of second language learning, and use of non-verbal communication. The trainees have been taught a host of various topics which all relate back to skills need to be an effective and successful teacher. The training received is enriched by having the diverse expertise and perspectives of several people experienced in education, language and community programming.
Project instructor and fluent speaker, Maryann Endanawas spends the majority of language teaching time using just Anishinaabemowin with the trainees. Portions of language classes are full immersion, and transitioning toward more and more immersion time. Maryann involves the trainees in all aspects of language learning, which include understanding/listening, speaking, reading, and writing using various teaching techniques. Carla Osawamick assists with language development by facilitating communicative activities. The trainees practice and study outside of training hours. They have weekly vocabulary quizzes, daily journal writing and weekly book reports in Anishinaabemowin.
Formal practicums, teaching experiences, started this past Spring. Trainees are required to design age-appropriate lesson, create the necessary resources and lesson plan to accompany it, and plan delivery. They have performed formal practicums at LTBB Head Start, Waaniigaanzijik Youth Department, Harbor Springs High School, and North Central Michigan College. They’ve all done an excellent job of making their lessons, and of teaching in the various environments. Each practicum has been observed by one or two staff who perform a written evaluation of their performance, and then review the evaluation with the trainee afterward, noting what went well, and areas for improvement. Throughout Summer 2017, trainees will be quite involved in teaching at the various LTBB day camp programs including Waaniigaanzijik Youth Department’s Agaming 10-week day camp and Spring Grant Program Nish Fish 8-week program. Language lessons will also be provided for Greensky Hill day camp. These will all provide excellent opportunity for trainees to try out the lessons and materials that they develop.
KAP hosts two community gatherings each year. In 2016, they put on a family language camp day at the community center in the Summer. It well attended, with a lot of fun language games and outside activities. They facilitated feast bag-making for families in the Fall. This was not so well-attended, but worked out because it took quite a bit of one-to-one help. Trainees taught related terms in Anishinaabemowin. The purpose was to encourage the community to use environmentally-friendly feast bags, also called ‘dish bags.’ Dish bags are cloth bags, made in many different styles and designs. They contain a place setting: Naagan, plate; Booskinaagan, bowl; Mnikwaajigan, cup; Mookmaan, knife; Bdakjiigan, fork; Emkwaan, spoon; miinwaa and Giziidonegaanhs, preferably cloth Napkin. You can keep the bag in your car, and take the bag with you whenever there is food – community events, potlucks, family cookouts, ceremonies, meetings… Instead of using paper or Styrofoam products, you’ll have a reusable, environmentally friendly, place setting. Several participants, including some children, completed making a personally designed feast bag.
In March, the community gathering event was storytelling. Each trainee was the ‘producer’ of delivering an animal legend in Anishinaabemowin, using the medium of their own design. The result was five legends, one was a digital storybook played on the big screen, one was a play, acted out, two were made using puppets, and the last was done by shadow-puppetry. Each play or skit was accompanied by a song. They were all in Anishinaabemowin, and all of the trainees played a part in each play or skit. They were performed as a warm-up at the Title VII Indian Education Storytelling Taco Dinner event. Later, they delivered a storytelling evening event to community families. It went very well, with an excellent turnout.
Aside from the gatherings, KAP has been highly involved in the community. They’ve taught language at past day camps, Title VII Indian Education Year-end Celebrations, and LTBB Professional Developments for employees. They are being recognized as teachers in the community, and starting to get requests for language support, such as how to say something, to do a prayer at special events, or to volunteer somewhere. In December, KAP created a holiday song booklet and sang with the Elders at an Elders luncheon and at the annual holiday hosted by Kikaajik Elders Department at the Ovation Hall. Several Elders sang along to the songs, sung in Anishinaabemowin. One of the trainees has taken on a personal goal of making it to Tribal Council meetings, and teaching them Anishinaabemowin, a little bit at a time, and Tribal Council has embraced the opportunity and even added the mini-lesson to their agendas. Trainees recently started mini-language lessons each Tuesday and Thursday at the Elder Luncheons, and they are now providing monthly language bingo/activity for the Elders. Trainees also facilitate a prayer / ceremony circle each Monday morning, 10 am, for employees and community members.
Kanishinaabemi class is open to community members, held Wednesdays, 2:30 - 5:00 pm, in the commons area of the Administration building. This is an interactive, intermediate level class that uses communicative activities. Consistent attendance is encouraged, however guests are welcome any time, if even they want to just observe.
Cultural understanding is essential for teachers in Anishinaabe communities. Opportunities to learn culture are included in the training. During the Fall, KAP trainees attended Traditional Teaching workshops that were hosted by the LTBB Burial Board and Niigaandwin Education Department. They also attended a one-day workshop hosted by LTBB Minozhiyaa Community Health. It was an excellent presentation about the effects and healing from Historical Trauma. They also attended the annual A-teg language conference in Sault Ste. Marie, where there was a host of topics offered in workshops, for teachers, students, curriculum, and technology. Trainees recently attended two days of cultural “Eastern Door Teachings.” Last Summer, the team went to Manitoulin Island to visit Mchigeeng and Wikwemikong first nations. We visited an immersion school, Anishinaabe museum, and several Anishinaabemowin programs. The team connected with several fluent speakers, other teachers, and tribal school staff.
KAP also attended GTB (Grand Traverse Band) language camp in Peshawbestown, which is planned again for this coming August. Nearly all the presenters are fluent speakers, presenting topics about language, culture, and working with children. KAP will attend the LRB (Little River Band) annual language camp in Manistee, at the end of July 2017. They’ve submitted a proposal to be workshop presenters at the camp, and we’re really hoping it will be accepted. That would be a great experience for them as teachers. These language camps are free events, open to the community, and include registration, camping and meals.
For further information about any of this progress update, please feel free to contact us.
7500 Odawa Circle
Harbor Springs, MI 49740
© 2014 Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians